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Why are Jehovah's Witnesses discouraged from using the Internet for "witnessing" work?
- (50%, 1 rating) submitted by xanderman (A-, 92%, 33 ratings), Mar 20, 06
There are several aspects to this question. One of them is simply the limitations of this media. For example, in communication the actual words we speak make up a very small portion of the message. To convey the full understanding requires voice modulation, both in tone and volume, attention to diacritics...(proper pausing and speed), inflection and emphasis on key words or phrases. With the written word it is impossible to include all these nuances of the language. It is possible for someone to change the intent of a passage by introducing their own thoughts while reading it, not including new words, but by using sarcasm, emphasizing minor points or improper tone and inflection, or rather, different from that intended by the author.
Another factor involved is the lack of personal contact. Internet users are anonymous...you never know if you're talking with an apostate, someone seeking to undermine your faith, or even a group of people acting as one, using tremendous resources to inundate you with questions and comments, sidetracking you and preventing you from spending time with honest people in productive conversations.
- Also, when you speak with someone the conversation is never productive if it is a monologue...to truly communicate with someone they are constantly speaking to you as you talk, through body language. During a dialogue the speaker must pay attention to the listeners posture, movement, facial expression and position, to ascertain whether the person is comprehending the material, or if they misunderstood a point. If there is a misunderstanding the speaker can immediately address it in response to a change in the listeners demeanor. Also, effective teaching requires audience participation...to most effectively drive home a point it is best to let the listener come to conclusions on their own, by asking questions and having them respond. This is best accomplished face to face, as it is not necessary sometimes for the listener to actually vocally respond, but for the speaker to wait fro the expression of understanding to overcome them before he proceeds...appropriate pauses.
- DavidWilliams: WTBTS fear the light of public debate that the internet provides,they prefer to 'corner' you at home
The internet is impersonal and anonymous, unfeeling. People here have different attitudes as a result of their anonymity, often hard headed and argumentatve, while in person they are gentle and mild, because they are responsible now for their conduct when they are addressed face to face, and there are consequences for their actions when you become a real person with feelings and emotions, instead of words on the screen.
To really reach a persons heart you must have effective communication, and this means face to face contact. The written word does serve a purpose, of course. It is useful for those who already have a desire to learn from it, but the ministry work is about developing that desire for truth. Witnessing on the net for this purpose is ineffective and distracts from the door to door ministry, which is very effective. Just think of all the posts in this section tearing people down...will these posts ever be removed? Even if they are proved wrong to the highest degree, will these people stop working against the witnesses and progress? And can effective communication ensue in this environment, where anger and hostility ensnares the reader at every corner?
This is a fun place to post, and it is good practice for writing and thinking, but the internet in general is not a trustworthy source for accurate information, or productive ground for Bible studies. Sorry, Ab staff, if you find this answer contrary to your philosophy. This answer is (useful ¤ somewhat useful ¤ incorrect ¤ offensive/spam)